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Cleveland to lease new trucks that will allow pickup of bulk refuse items without coronavirus fears

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland City Council has approved leasing eight trucks with grappling arms that would allow the city to resume collecting bulk refuse without putting workers at risk of exposure to the coronavirus.

The legislation, which Mayor Frank Jackson is expected to sign this week, will clear the way for a once labor-intensive effort to become automated. The contract will cost the city about $460,000 for a year. A portion of the money spent on the leasing will apply to purchase.

The bulk pickup service is for large items such as furniture, appliances and old tires and collections involve more people than trash removal.

Bulk pickups are expected to resume the weeks of June 15. A second round of pickup will be done the week of June 23 to catch up. Public works Director Michael Cox said he expects two rounds of pickup will be done in July.

Jackson suspended the service for April and May, over concerns that work crews would be put at risk from having to handle items with large surface areas where COVID-19 coronavirus could be found, and that social distancing would be an issue for the crews.

Members of City Council, though, recently raised the need for the pickup to resume, warning that piles of refuse were starting to crop up in their wards.

Regular garbage pickup is largely automated. Mechanical arms latch onto and empty bins into the back of the truck.

The new vehicles with the grappling arms will be able to pick up and deposit bulk items into trucks. Workers won’t touch the surface areas.

The new trucks also will be useful clearing illegal dump sites, Darnell Brown, Jackson’s chief of operations, told a council committee earlier this week. Annually the city cleans up several hundred such sites, Brown said.

More from Cleveland City Hall

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Cleveland City Council declares racism a public health crisis, launching community-wide effort to tackle inequities

Cleveland should try small-scale recycling while it fixes its program’s big problems, council members argue

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport trims $14 million in 2020 expenses as part of coping with coronavirus budget fallout

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